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Natalie Ezelle

looking for ghosts: 2007


when the moon hangs brightly, bone-white

my grandpa slides the glass door wide. wind


in chimes—wind in chimes—we sneak outside

to look for ghosts. now don’t be fooled, he whispers,


them ghosts are good at hiding. then, he lowers

his lips and blows—his whistle a rope pulled


tighter, taut—four fingers on my shoulder,

white. he lost his fifth inside a foxhole.


we gotta outsmart ’em now. let’s go long.


i nod—the back gate groans—opens

to a field of ticking—ribbons in me turn


to knots, i drop, my knees scraping earth,

its pulsing—breathing—then i see it—


a bird. the head slacked. the eyes gone

black like marbles. grandpa, is it—?   


and then his eyes went distant­, like he ate

a sad song, like blue was pooling in him.


he takes a cigarette, lights the head on fire.

mhm, dead. looks like someone nabbed the sucker.


—the cricketing louder. 

my grandpa’s embers burning brighter, brighter.

Natalie Ezelle is an MFA student at San Diego State University. When she isn't writing, she's teaching K-8 students, tutoring, and dancing to any music she can find. Her previous poems can be found in issues of The Catalyst.

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